Traverse City, Mich. – Last weekend, Radar Tires dominated the 46th Annual Tecate SCORE International Baja 500 with its second Class 10 win of the 2014 season and second consecutive win at the Baja 500. Now the Singapore-based tire brand seeks its first short course win of the season in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This weekend’s Throwdown in the U.P. Part 1 are the fifth and sixth rounds of the TORC: The Off Road Championship.
Bark River is a home-state track for Omni United, the parent company of Radar Tires. Bark River is located in the southern region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, while the U.S., headquarters of the tire brand is located in the northwest part of Michigan’s “Mitten” approximately 300 miles apart.
Radar Tires continues to use the LT265/75R16 and 32X11.50R15 Radar Renegade R5 tires for this two-day event. The tires will be used by Project648 Motorsports’ Luke Johnson and Cam Reimers Motorsports co-drivers Cam Reimers and Ian Harris, all in the PRO Light class.
One of the longest circuits on the TORC series schedule, Bark River is 1.5 miles in length and varies in terrain from dry and slick to soft and moist loamy. The circuit features mid-sized moguls, table-top jumps and a fast, sweeping left-handed turn known as Cemetery Turn. Despite Bark River being one of the longest tracks, all three Radar Tires racers know that it will be non-stop, wheel-to-wheel aggression during the weekend’s two 15-minute races.
“As this is my first time to visit Bark River, I am excited to race at a new venue,” said Gary Blalock, Radar Tires Motorsports Manager. “I like the natural terrain circuits like Bark River. I’m told Bark River is similar to Crandon, and I have lots of experience at Crandon, so we’ll leverage that knowledge this weekend. It will be a new challenge for the Radar Renegade R5s tires, but so far this season, tire performance has been consistent and good. It can be wet this time of year in the U.P., so we will have to be ready for such conditions. Hopefully, we can continue our progress and build on our success at the Baja 500 last week.”
Johnson, driver of the No. 14 Project648 Motorsports Nissan Frontier PRO Light, has five previous starts at Bark River. In 2012, Johnson earned his first PRO Light win and then repeated that performance twice in 2013 in the PRO Buggy class. Familiar with visiting the podium at Bark River, Johnson seeks his first win of the 2014 season and expects that his comfort level at the circuit should translate into a podium finish.
Reimers, driver of the No. 21 SSI Decal/TiLube PRO Light, made his debut at Bark River in 2013. The elevation change and the loamy soil suit Reimers’ driving style, and the various racing lines will allow Reimers to charge to the front on a circuit that he considers one of his favorites on the schedule.
Harris, driver of the No. 22 SSI Decal/TiLube PRO Light, continues to make strides in his rookie season of TORC. Harris and teammate Reimers spent the TORC schedule lull testing and improving the sister PRO Light trucks. The added seat time for Harris and break in the racing schedule enabled the rookie driver to reflect on the season and come back stronger for the upcoming battles on the dirt. Harris likens Bark River to a motocross track and hopes to leverage his motocross background into a PRO Light podium finish.
The Bark River event was a recent change to the TORC schedule. In April, TORC officials announced that the race scheduled for mid-May in St. Louis was postponed due to record-setting water in the region. To maintain the seven-weekend, 14-round race schedule, TORC officials added this weekend’s race to the schedule. This will be the first of two events at Bark River. The series returns to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the weekend of July 19-20.
The Radar Tires racers will practice, qualify and race at the two-day Throwdown in the U.P. Part 1 event. Fans unable to attend the race at can tune into the Motor Trend YouTube channel for a live broadcast. The race can then be seen on NBC Sports at 5 p.m. ET on July 13.